May 17 2013
This morning at the Cathedral of Learning Dorothy and E2′s chick was weighed, measured, given a health check, and banded. He’s in great health and, yes, he’s a boy.
Above, he shows off his enormous feet, normal size for a 22-day-old peregrine. Notice the fleshy nobs on the insides of his toes. In a couple of months he’ll be using them to capture and hold his prey.
Peregrine experts Dan Brauning and Art McMorris of the Pennsylvania Game Commission braved Dorothy’s wrath and collected the chick and the unhatched eggs. None of the eggs had pips; they may have been infertile. As is typically done at banding sites, the eggs will be analyzed for contaminants.
Back indoors Art showed us the chick and explained interesting facts about peregrine biology. I was amazed to learn that their tail feathers grow 2 mm per day beginning at 13 days after hatching. This chick’s pin feathers confirmed he’s 22 days old — but we knew that from the camera.
Art has so much experience with peregrines that he knew this one was male even before he weighed him! Here Art lifts the nestling to show his emerging feathers.
The chick was silent most of the time though he complained about the health check. Soon he had his new “bling” and was ready to go back to Mom and Dad after one more photo opportunity.
I was honored that Art asked me to stand between him and Dan for this photo with Dorothy and E2′s newly banded chick. Dan (on the left) is the one who told me to look for Dorthy and Erie’s nest in 2001. That simple request started me on my odyssey with this charismatic bird.
For more photos, click here for the Banding Day album on the University of Pittsburgh’s Facebook page. Thanks to Rose Huber for sharing the photos!
(photos by B. Rose Huber/University of Pittsburgh)